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Thy son, and his, ere that, may die,
THE VANITY OF THE WORLD.
IN THREE BOOKS.
“Ο Βίος γάρ δνομ' έχει, πόνος δ' έργω πέλει. (Who hold the plow, or skim the dairy,)
EURIP. My favorite books and pictures sell
Siquis Deus mihi largiatur, ut ex hac ætate repuerascam, et in To Smart, or Doiley, by the ell?
cunis vagiam, valde recusem.- CIC. de Senect. Kindly throw in a little figure, And set the price upon the bigger ?
The bewailing of man's miseries has been elegantly and copi: Those who could never read the grammar, ously set forth by many in the writings as well of philosoWhen my dear volumes touch the hammer, phers as divides; and is both a plcasant and a profitable conMay think books best, as richest bound;
Texts chiefly alluded to in Book I than I,"
"The words of the Preacher the son of David, king of Quoth Dick, “ with your philosophy—
Jerusalem."-Eccles. chap. i. ver. 1.
“Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities, And, if Fate spins us longer years,
all is vanity."-Ver. 2. Or is in haste to take the shears,
"I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am I know we must both fortunes try, And bear our evils, wet or dry.
come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom
than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem : Yet, let the goddess smile or frown,
yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and Bread we shall eat, or white or brown;
knowledge."-Ver. 16. And in a cottage, or a court, Drink fine champaigne, or muddled port.
“ He spake of trees, from the cedar-tree that is in Leba. What need of books these truths to tell,
non, even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the Which folks perceive who cannot spell ?
wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of And must we spectacles apply,
creeping things, and of fishes."–1 Kings, chap. iv. ver.
33. To view what hurts our naked eye! “Sir, if it be your wisdom's aim
“I know, that whatsoever God docth, it shall be for ever; To make me merrier than I am,
nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it; I'll be all night at your devotion
and God doeth it, that men should fear before him."Come on, friend, broach the pleasing notion;
EccLEs. chap. iii. ver. 14. But, if you would depress my thought,
"He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also Your system is not worth a groat,
he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man “For Plato's fancies what care I ?
can find out the work that God maketh from the be. I hope you would not have me die,
ginning to the end."-Ver. 11. Like simple Cato in the play,
"For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that in. For any thing that he can say:
creaseth knowledge, increaseth sorrow."-ch. i. ver. 18. E'en let him of ideas speak
“And further, by these, my son, be admonished : of To heathens in his native Greek. If to be sad is to be wise,
making many books there is no end: and much study
is a weariness of the flesh."-ch, xii. ver. 12. I do most heartily despise Whatever Socrates has said,
THE ARGUMENT. Or Tully writ, or Wanley read. “ Dear Drift,* to set our matters right,
SOLOMON, seeking happiness from knowledge, conRemove these papers from my sight;
venes the learned men of his kingdom ; requires Burn Mat's Des-cart, and Aristotle :
them to explain to him the various operations Here! Jonathan, your master's bottle."
and effects of Nature; discourses of vegetables, animals, and man; proposes some questions
concerning the origin and situation of the habi* Mr. Prior's secretary and executor.
table Earth; proceeds to examine the system of the visible Heaven; doubts if there may not be a plurality of worlds ; inquires into the nature of spirits and angels; and wishes to be more
fully informed as to the attributes of the Supreme Wanting the Sun, why does the calıha fade ?
While in the lower marsh the gourd is found,
And while the hill with olive shade is crown d? Ye sons of men, with just regard attend,
Why does one climate and one soil endue Observe the preacher, and believe the friend, The blushing poppy with a crimson hue, Whose serious Muse inspires him to explain, Yet leave the lily pale, and linge the violet blue? That all we act, and all we think, is vain; Why does the fond carnation love to shoot That, in this pilgrimage of seventy years,
A various color from one parent root; O'er rocks of perils, and through vales of tears, While the fantastic lulip strives to break Destin'd to march, our doubtful steps we tend, In twofold beauty, and a parted streak ? Tir'd with the toil, yet fearful of its end:
The twining jasmine and the blushing rose, That from the womb we take our fatal shares With lavish grace, their morning scents disclose : Of follies, passions, dabors, tumults, cares ; The smelling tuberose and jonquil declare And, at approach of Death, shall only know The stronger impulse of an evening air. The truth, which from these pensive numbers flow, Whence bas the tree (resolve me), or the flower, That we pursue false joy, and suffer real woe. A various instinct, or a different power?
Happiness, object of that waking dream, Why should one earth, one clime, one stream, one Which we call life, mistaking: fugitive theme
breath, Of my pursuing verse, ideal shade,
Raise this to strength, and sicken that to death? Notional good, by fancy only made,
“Whence does it happen, that the plant, which And by tradition nurs'd, fallacious fire,
well Whose dancing beams mislead our fond desire, We name the Sensitive, should move and feel? Cause of our care, and error of our mind ;
Whence know her leaves to answer her command, Oh! hadst thou ever been by Heaven design'd And with quick horror fly the neighboring hand ? To Adam, and his mortal race; the boon
Along the sunny bank, or watery mead, Entire had been reserv'd for Solomon:
Ten thousand stalks the various blossoms spread On me the partial lot had been bestow'd, Peaceful and lowly in their native soil, And in my cup the golden draught had flow'd. They neither know tó spin, nor care to toil ;
But O! ere yet original man was made, Yet with confess'd magnificence deride Ere the foundations of this Earth were laid, Our vile attire, and impotence of pride. It was, opponent to our search, ordain'd
Thé cowslip smiles, in brighter yellow dress'd That joy, still sought, should never be attain'd. Than that which veils the nubile virgin's, breast : This sad experience cites me to reveal,
A fairer red stands blushing in the rose And what I dictate is from what I feel.
Than that which on the bridegroom's vestment Born, as I was, great David's favorite son,
It must, by sure comparison, be shown
Arise," I commun'd with myself, “arise ; How the mute race engender, or respire,
Unmark'd, a multitude without a name,
To that Leviathan, who o'er the seas I said ; and sent my edict through the land : Immense rolls onward his impetuous ways, Around my throne the letter'd rabbins stand; And mocks the wind, and in the tempest plays ? Historic leaves revolve, long volumes spread, How they in warlike bands march greatly forth The old discoursing as the younger read : From freezing waters and the colder north, Attent I heard, propos'd my doubts, and said : To southern climes directing their career,
"The vegetable world, each plant and tree, Their station changing with th' inverted year ? Its seed, its name, its nature, its degree,
How all with careful knowledge are endued, I am allow'd, as Fame reports, to know
To choose their proper bed, and wave, and food ; From the fair cedar on the craggy brow
To guard their spawn, and educate their brood ? Of Lebanon, nodding supremely tall,
“Of birds, how each, according to her kind, To creeping moss and hyssop on the wall: Proper materials for her nest can find, Yet, just and conscious to myself, I find
And build a frame, which deepest thought in man A thousand doubts oppose the searching mind. Would or amend or imitate in vain?
“ I know not why the beech delights the glade How in small flights they know to try their young, With boughs extended, and a rounder shade ; And teach the callow child her parent's song? Whilst towering firs in conic forms arise,
Why these frequent the plain, and those the wood ? And with a pointed spear divide the skies : Why every land has her specific brood ? Nor why again the changing oak should shed Where the tall crane, or winding swallow, goes, The yearly honor of his stately head;
Fearful of gathering winds and falling snows; Whilst the distinguish'd yew is ever seen, If into rocks, or hollow trees, they creep, Unchang'd his branch, and permanent his green. In temporary death confin'd to sleep;
Or, conscious of the coming evil, Ay
For the kind gifts of water and of food To milder regions, and a southern sky?
Ungrateful, and returning ill for good, “Of beasts and creeping insects shall we trace He seeks his keeper's flesh, and thirsts his blood : The wondrous nature, and the various race; While the strong camel, and the generous horse, Or wild or tame, or friend to man or foe,
Restrain'd and aw'd by man's inferior force, Of us what they, or what of them we know? Do to the rider's will their rage submit,
“Tell me, ye studious, who pretend to see And answer to the spur, and own the bit; Far into Nature's bosom, whence the bee
Stretch their glad mouths to meet the feeder's hand, Was first inform’d her venturous flight to steer Pleas'd with his weight, and proud of his command Through trackless paths, and an abyss of air ? “ Again: the lonely fox roams far abroad, Whence she avoids the slimy marsh, and knows On secret rapine bent, and midnight fraud; The fertile hills, where sweeter herbage grows,
Now haunts the cliff, now traverses the lawn, And honey-making flowers their opening buds dis- And Aies the hated neighborhood of man: close ?
While the kind spaniel and the faithful hound, How from the thicken'd mist, and setting sun, Likest that fox in shape and species found, Finds she the labor of her day is done?
Refuses through these cliffs and lawns to roam, Who taught her against winds and rains to strive, Pursues the noted path, and covets home, To bring her burthen to the certain hive ; Does with kind joy domestic faces meet; And through the liquid fields again to pass, Takes what the glutted child denies to eat, Duteous, and hearkening to the sounding brass ? And, dying, licks his long-lov'd master's feet.
“ And, O thou sluggard, tell me why the ant, " By what immediate cause they are inclin'd, 'Midst summer's plenty, thinks of winter's want, In many acts, 'tis hard, I own, to find. By constant journeys careful to prepare
I see in others, or I think I see,
Abħor the poison, and receive the food.
Like us they love or hate; like us they know Distinct in either insect's deed appear
To joy the friend, or grapple with the foe. The marks of thought, contrivance, hope, and fear. With seeming thought their action they intend ; "Fix thy corporeal and internal eye
And use the means proportion'd to the end.
That reason guides our deed, and instinct theirs.
If the brute beast refuses to obey.
Proclaims himself the universal lord,
Would not the learned coward leave the chair, Though the whole fabric smaller than a grain. If in the schools or porches should appear What more can our penurious reason grant The fierce hyena, or the foaming bear? To the large whale, or castled elephant;
“The combatant too late the field declines, To those enormous terrors of the Nile,
When now the sword is girded to his loins. The crested snake, and long-tail'd crocodile : When the swift vessel flies before the wind, Than that all differ but in shape and name, Too late the sailor views the land behind. Each destin'd to a less or larger frame?
And 'tis too late now back again to bring
Forward she strives, averse to be withheld
Anxious I ask you, how the pensile ball
Should never strive to rise, nor fear to fall ? Becomes mixt blackness, or unparted light. When I reflect how the revolving Sun Water and air the varied form confound; Does round our globe his crooked journeys run, The straight looks crooked, and the square grows I doubt of many lands, if they contain round.
Or herd of beast, or colony of man;
The rage of Arctos and eternal frost.'
May not the pleasure of Omnipotence
To each of these some secret good dispense? Her close decrees, and
Those who amidst the torrid regions live,
May they not gales unknown to us receive ?
See daily showers rejoice the thirsty earth,
And bless the flowery buds' succeeding birth ?
wills, to hide
May they not pity us, condemn'd 10 bear
Or could they think the new-discover'd isle The various heaven of an obliquer sphere; Pleas'd to receive a pregnant crocodile ? While by fix'd laws, and with a just return,
“ And, since the savage lineage we must trace They feel twelve hours that shade, for twelve that From Noah sav'd, and his distinguish'd race; burn;
How should their fathers happen to forget And praise the neighboring Sun, whose constant The arts which Noah taught, the rules he set, flame
To sow the glebe, to plant the generous vine, Enlightens them with seasons still the same? And load with grateful flames the holy shrine ; And may not those, whose distant lot is cast While the great sire's unhappy sons are found, North beyond Tartary's extended waste ;
Unpress'd their vintage, and untilld their ground, Where through the plains of one continual day Straggling o'er dale and hill in quest of food, Six shining months pursue their even way, And rude of arts, of virtue, and of God? And six succeeding urge their dusky flight,
“How shall we next o'er earth and seas pursue Obscurd with vapors, and o'erwhelm'd in night? The varied forms of every thing we view; May not, I ask, the natives of these climes That all is chang'd, though all is still the same, (As annals may inform succeeding times) Fluid the parts, yet durable the frame? To our quotidian change of heaven prefer of those materials, which have been confess'd Their own vicissitude, and equal share
The pristine springs and parents of the rest,
Those finer parts of air again aspire,
And downward forc'd, in Earth's capacious womb
Or, running through the mighty mother's veins, The remnant toil of yesterday to bear?
Changes its shape, puts off its old remains ; Whilst, when the solar beams salute their sight, With watery parts its lessen'd force divides, Bold and secure in half a year of light,
Flows into waves, and rises into tides. Uninterrupted voyages they take
“ Disparted streams shall from their channels fly, To the remotest wood, and farthest lake;
And, deep surcharg'd, by sandy mountains lie, Manage the fishing, and pursue the course Obscurely sepulchred. By beating rain, With more extended nerves, and more continued And furious wind, down to the distant plain, force ?
The hill, that hides his head above the skies, And, when declining day forsakes their sky, Shall fall; the plain, by slow degrees, shall rise When gathering clouds speak gloomy' winter nigh; Higher than erst had stood the summit-hill; With plenty for the coming season blest,
For Time must Nature's great behest fulfil. Six solid months (an age) they live, releas'd
“ Thus, by a length of years and change of fate,
And travellers inquire where Babel stood.
Where to our eye more rarely they appear,
“In foreign isles, which our discoverers find, Let human wit their dubious boundaries place : Far from this length of continent disjoin'd, Are all things miracle, or nothing such? The rugged bear's, or spotted lynx's brood, And prove we not too little, or too much? Frighten the valleys, and infest the wood;
“ For, that a branch cut off, a wither'd rod, The hungry crocodile, and hissing snake, Should, at a word pronounc'd, revive and bud; Lurk in the troubled stream and fenny brake; Is this more strange, than that the mountain's brow, And man, untaught and ravenous as the beast, Stripp'd by December's frost, and white with snow, Does valley, wood, and brake, and stream, infest: Should push in spring ten thousand thousand buds, Deriv'd these men and animals their birth And boast returning leaves, and blooming woods ? From trunk of oak, or pregnant womb of Earth ? That each successive night, from opening Heaven, Whence then the old belief, that all began The food of angels should to man be given; In Eden's shade, and one created man?
Is this more strange, than that with common, bread Or, grant this progeny was wafted o'er,
Our fainting bodies every day are fed? By coasting boats, from next adjacent shore ; Than that each grain and seed, consum'd in earth, Would those, from whom we will suppose they Raises its store, and multiplies its birth, spring,
And from the handful, which the tiller sows, Slaughter to harmless lands and poison bring? The labor'd fields rejoice, and future harvest flows. Would they on board or bears or lynxes take, “Then, from whate'er we can to sense produce, Feed the she-adder, and the brooding snake ? Common and plain, or wondrous and abstruse,
From Nature's constant or eccentric laws, Of airy columns every moment broke,
Yet this solution but once more affords
And take the doubt the very same I gave. A First, a Source, a Life, a Deity,
"Lo! as a giant strong, the lusty Sun What has for ever been, and must for ever be. Multiplied rounds in one great round does run
This great Existence, thus by reason found, Twofold his course, yet constant his career, Blest by all power, with all perfection crown'd; Changing the day, and finishing the year. How can we bind or limit his decree,
Again, when his descending orb retires, By what our ear has heard, or eye may see? And Earth perceives the absence of his fires; Say then, is all in heaps of water lost,
The Moon affords us her alternate ray, Beyond the islands, and the midland coast? And with kind beams distributes fainter day, Or has that God, who gave our world its birth, Yet keeps the stages of her monthly race; Sever'd those waters by some other earth, Various her beams, and changeable her face. Countries by future plowshares to be torn, Each planet, shining in his proper sphere, And cities rais'd by nations yet unborn!
Does with just speed his radiant voyage steer; Ere the progressive course of restless age Each sees his lamp with different lustre crown'd; Performs three thousand times its annual stage, Each knows his course with different periods bound; My not our power and learning bę supprest, And, in his passage through the liquid space, And arts and empire learn to travel west ?
Nor hastens, nor retards, his neighbor's race. “Where, by the strength of this idea charm'd; Now, shine these planets with substantial rays? Lighten'd with glory, and with rapture warm’d, Does innate lustre gild their measur'd days? Ascends my soul ? what sees she white and great Or do they (as your schemes, I think, have shown) Amidst subjected seas? An isle, the seat
Dart furtive beams and glory not their own, Of power and plenty ; her imperial throne, All servants to that source of light, the Sun? For justice and for mercy sought and known; "Again I see ten thousand thousand stars, Virtues sublime, great attributes of Heaven, Nor cast in lines, in circles, nor in-squares, From thence to this distinguish'd nation given. (Poor rules, with which our bounded mind is fillid, Yet farther west the western Isle extends
When we would plant, or cultivate, or build,) Her happy fame; her armed fleet she sends But shining with such vast, such various light, To climates folded yet from human eye,
As speaks the hand, that form'd them, infinite. And lands, which we imagine wave and sky. How mean the order and perfection sought, From pole to pole she hears her acts resound, In the best product of the human thought, And rules an empire by no ocean bound; Compar'd to the great harmony that reigns Knows her ships anchor'd, and her sails unfurl'd, In what the Spirit of the world ordains ! In other Indies, and a second world.
“ Now if the Sun to Earth transmits his ray, Long shall Britannia (that must be her name) Yet does not scorch us with 100 fierce a day! Be first in conquest, and preside in fame :
How small a portion of his power is given Long shall her favor'd monarchy engage
To orbs more distant, and remoter Heaven? The teeth of Envy, and the force of Age:
And of those stars, which our imperfect eye Rever'd and happy she shall long remain,
Has doom'd and fix'd to one eternal sky, Of human things least changeable, least vain. Each, by a native stock of honor great, Yet all must with the general doom comply, May dart strong influence, and diffuse kind heat, And this great glorious power, tho' last, must die. (Itself a sun) and with transmissive light
Now let us leave this Earth, and lift our eye Enliven worlds denied to human sight. To the large convex of yon azure sky:
Around the circles of their ambient skies Behold it like an ample curtain spread,
New moons may grow or wane, may set or rise, Now streak'd and glowing with the morning red; And other stars may to those suns be earths, Anon at noon in flaming yellow bright,
Give their own elements their proper births, And choosing sable for the peaceful night. Divide their climes, or elevate their pole, Ask Reason now, whence light and shade were given, See their lands flourish, and their oceans roll: And whence this great variety of Heaven. Yet these great orbs, thus radically bright, Reason, our guide, what can she more reply, Primitive founts, and origins of light, Than that the Sun illuminates the sky;
May each to other (as their different sphere Than that night rises from his absent ray,
Makes or their distance or their light appear) And his relurning lustre kindles day?
Be seen a nobler or inferior star, * But we expect the morning-red in vain: And, in that space which we call air and sky, "Tis hid in vapors, or obscur'd by rain.
Myriads of earths, and moons, and suns, may lie The noontide yellow we in vain require :
Unmeasur'd and unknown by human eye. 'Tis black in storm, or red in lightning fire.
" In vain we measure this amazing sphere, Pitchy and dark the night sometimes appears, And find and fix its centre here or there ; Friend to our woe, and parent of our fears :
Whilst its circumference, scorning to be brought Our joy and wonder sometimes she excites, Ev'n into fancied space, eludes our vanquish'd With stars
thought. Send forth, ye wise, thought; forth your laboring “Where then are all the radiant monsters driven,
With which your guesses fillid the frighten'd Let it return with
and eternal lights.
Pend notions fraught,